A significant majority of both slaveholders and nonslaveholders farmed on the best soil. The largest planter and slaveholder in the Augusta GIS data set resided on medium soil and achieved significantly higher productivity than nonslaveholders and slaveholders on the best soil.
This table shows the data on companies in the manufacturing census in Augusta cross referenced with the Augusta slaveholders census schedule. Slaveholders in Augusta predominated in low-skill industries, while artisans in Augusta rarely owned slaves.
The free black population in Augusta declined in the 1850s as a percentage of the total population, just as it did in the Upper South and Virginia.
While Virginia and the Upper South’s proportion of slaves in their total population declined from the 1830 to 1860, Augusta County’s percentage of slaves in the total population remained steady around 20 percent from 1820 to 1860.
We identified a total of 406 party activists in Augusta County through the newspapers—72 percent Whig and 28 percent Democrat.
In Augusta Whigs and Democrats drew party activists from a similar range of ages. In the 1860 election precincts with high levels of Bell, Douglas, and Breckinridge support had similar average ages of voters. In Augusta in the 1860 election, the age of voters did not substantially differentiate the parties.
In Augusta Bell’s support was so widespread that precinct level breakdowns of parish locations are not useful.
Whig activists dominated in the county, while in Staunton Democratic activists outnumbered Whigs 2 to 1.
Identified party activists for each 1860 candidate supported Bell strongly. Fifteen activists identified with the Democratic party candidates, split evenly between Douglas and Breckinridge.
Constitutional Union candidate John Bell won Augusta with 66 percent of the vote, while Democrat Stephen Douglas—endorsed strongly by the local Democratic paper—took 28 percent. John Breckinridge, the strongest pro-slavery candidate, won less than 6 percent of the Augusta vote.
The high Breckinridge precincts were much wealthier than the county average and contained more slaveholding households.
The high Douglas precincts contained fewer households with slaves than the county average but held household wealth on par with the county average.